13-digit ISBNs

If you haven’t started seeing them yet, you should this year. As of January 1, 2007, all ISBNs will have 13 digits, as opposed to the 10 digits with which we are familiar.

NISO has put out an FAQ for librarians concerning this interim period. Three important questions are answered:

  • How will I order books when I only know the 10-digit ISBN?
  • Will I have to switch to using 13-digit ISBNs for searches in my library database?
  • What are library vendors planning and when will we see changes?

The Library of Congress and the British Library will provide records with both 10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs for the interim. LC will provide pairs of 020 fields with the 13-digit ISBN in the first field and the 10-digit in the second field.

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